The October 2004 Community Technical Preview (CTP) releases are now available for download. I know some of you have tried out the Beta1 version using the automatic downloader and experinced failures. The VS setup team has done a lot of work to make the downloader more bulletproof and provide better progress indications, etc. I encourage you all to give it a try and send any feedback you have back to Microsoft by logging bugs and suggestions on the MSDN feedback site at http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/productfeedback/default.aspx. You can also reply to this post and I'll compile your feedback and share with my team.
IMPORTANT!! - if you have any pervious build of Visual Studio 2005 products installed, you MUST uninstall them before you install this community tech preview. Setup will not block you, but it will fail if you don't uninstall VS 2005 first (including all pieces of VS - the .NET Framework, MSDN, SQL Express, etc). See detailed uninstall instructions at http://lab.msdn.microsoft.com/express/readme/cptreadme1004/default.aspx.
Since this is a community tech preview doesn't go through the same rigourous testing like the Beta release, do not install these builds on a machine you depend on. Also please do spend a few minutes review the Readme to understand the known issues that are not fixed in this release.
Here are the direct links to download the October 2004 community tech preview for your convenience:
* The regular Beta 1 versions are still available on the individual express edition pages.
Annie Wang, Program Manager, Visual Studio Setup